Natwest Bank Branch
Natwest Bank manager Glenn Mason was today sentenced to 15 months' imprisonmentGetty

A Natwest manager who skimmed £185,000 from pensioners' accounts to fund his internet gambling addiction has been jailed for 15 months.

Glenn Mason was a respected manager at the Biggin Hill branch in Kent but was secretly syphoning thousands of pounds from nine pensioners' accounts, including an 83-year-old woman and a 92-year-old man.

The disgraced 56-year-old man, who lives near the branch he worked at and now does shifts at a local newsagents, stole the money to feed a gambling addiction he developed after his son was injured in a roadside bomb attack in Afghanistan.

Mason, the Old Bailey heard, transferred all the stolen proceeds into a gambling account that he used to play online poker and games.

He was eventually arrested in July 2012, one year after his deceit at the bank started.

He attempted to cover up his crime by transferring money using the identity of two of his colleagues, Julie Jeffrey, 50, and James Cato, 35, which led to them being sacked and charged with fraud. Cases against the pair were dropped when Mason pleaded guilty in September.

His crimes had a detrimental effect on staff at the Biggin Hill branch and left his victims with a distrust of bankers.

Sentencing Mason to 15 months' imprisonment, judge, Mr Recorder Simon Farrell QC, told a sobbing Mason: "You are of previous good character and someone who has suffered considerable personal tragedy.

"Your wife suffered from cancer in 2005 and your son at only 19 went to Afghanistan to fight for his country and was the victim of an improvised explosive device that caused him very serious injury.

"I accept this caused you to develop a serious gambling addiction which was in fact the root cause of stealing the money from customers."